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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Live morning call-in program with  
   government officials, political leaders, and journalists.  

    September 10, 2012
    7:00 - 9:59am EDT  

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the democrats don't seem to be listening to their constituents about illegal immigration and the factors that illegal immigration contributes to the at burdening of our social system. unless the republicans get themselves together on the tax issue and the democrats, that's why i feel they are in franchise in the white male voters,
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because they see all these illegal immigrants working jobs and they are not driving your car is especially in the pennsylvania area. we have an exorbitant amount of illegal aliens and all of them are working. i think congress, republicans and democrats, should be considered deporting 12 million aliens and may be placing 12,000 employers in jail for employing them. --t: here's a story less
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severe from paul, a republican in michigan. paul.'s hear from caller: i hope congress holds steadfast. we are spending too much, not tax-- taxing is not a problem. when they talk about taxing the rich, the rich are anybody who is working. the middle class is anybody taking assistance from the government. that's the way they speak in tax code. the careful what you wish for. if you get them to pass a tax on the rich, that's going to be the middle-class. that's all i have to say. host: did you catch any of the
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comments on the sunday talk shows yesterday or the news stories about the candidates' positions on middle-class taxes? caller: i try to listen to the talk shows, but it is football season. i was able to cast a little bit of fox and meet the press. host: president obama was on face the nation yesterday on cbs. [video clip] >> we have an obligation to make sure government works. there is still waste and programs that don't work and ways we can make it more efficient. i am more than happy to work with republicans. in reducing our deficits, we can make sure that we cut the dollar's descent for every dollar of reducincreased revenu. >> that is the deal they turned down.
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>> that is part of what we have to deal with. governor romney said that he woulnot take it. the problem is the arithmetic does not add up. you cannot reduce the deficit unless you take a balanced approach that says we have to make government leaner and more efficient. we also have to ask people like me or governor romney, whose taxes are just about lower than they have been in the last 50 years, to do a little bit more. if we go back to the tax rates for folks making more than $250,000 a year back to the rates we had under bill clinton, we can close the deficit, stabilized the economy, keep taxes on middle-class families low, provide the certainty that all of us would be looking for. host: president obama on face the nation yesterday. now this response into our
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question about your message to congress -- now a scholar in oklahoma -- a caller. caller: the president has reached across the aisle several times and they ignore him like he's not there. the man who called earlier does not understand the reality of what's going on in this country. for people to work together, first you have to a humble yourself. congress has such a low approval rating right now that they are just -- they need to do something or look for another job. yesterday on face the nation, romney could not make up his mind when he was going to do with obamacare. first he said he was going to repeal it and now says he's going to keep part of it.
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i believed earlier than he would change his mind because he is a per.-flop pe i hope the does not appeal obamacare because how can you repeat something that you created? articlet's look at this in the baltimore sun -- let's listen to mitt romney talking about the issue of taxes, on nbc yesterday on meet the press. [video clip] >> people at a high income level
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will have fewer deductions and exemptions. as numbers will come down, otherwise they would get a tax break. i want to make sure, despite what the democrats said at their convention, i am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers. i am bringing down the rate of taxation but also bringing down deductions and exemptions at the high end so the revenues stay the same. the taxes people pay states the same. middle-income people will get a break. on the high end, what's coming in and say it's the same -- what's coming in stays the same. but we encourage small businesses, because they hire people. host: that was mitt romney yesterday. we are asking you about your message to congress. fred on twitter -- chicago, matt on the democratic
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line. caller: the thing that you just showed on the newspaper when you first open the show, a house republican agenda for this week is to pass a bill to eliminate the clean energy loans and the sequestration issue. we know that it will pass the house, but there's no chance of that passing in the senate. no chance. again we see the house, led by speaker boehner, just spending time, political measures that i would think appeal to the base. what i would say is forget about
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that. why not try to work with the work with senator harry reid and work on the issues such as the fiscal cliff by the end of the year, as some of the callers mentioned earlier. i think the thing that drives people crazy is when the house passes these bills that they know are not going to become law. i would urge them to forget the games, forget the show, and try to work with the other side. have a good day, libby. host: stay with me for a moment. there's an associated press story --
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caller: so he says they should vote on the ryan budget. looks like the senators are putting their money where their mouth is. the plan did pass the house if not this year than earlier. maybe that's a good idea, to actually put it on their record. i would say that we should see what these people say on that. host: let's read more this story from the associated press --
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mobile, alabama, arthur on our republican line. caller: good morning, c-span. i have two messages for congress. they might apply to people calling in on c-span, also. the first message is read and comply with your oath of office. anyer two, ensure thart piece of legislation complies with the u.s. constitution.
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host: give us an example. caller: ok. this is going to cause a lot of controversy. where in the constitution are individuals in each state authorized to vote for the president of the united states? that is not in the constitution. another one, where in the constitution is the education department? where in the constitution is the energy department? there are several instances similar to that. host: nancy writes -- arlington, virginia, philip, an
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independent scholar. what's your message to congress? caller: are we a reflection, the people of congress? we keep putting them in there. when people start to become enlightened again, where we might go. you have to take some responsibility for the mess we are in, the people. you can blame congress, but we don't want to look in the mirror at ourselves. the point i'm trying to make is our country is very divided right now. it's obvious. the wealthy, the middle, the poor, black, white, hispanic, all doing a pretty bad. we have to come together to fight the real issues that our country is facing. of course the economy is one.
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and to stay out of foreign entanglements, like barack obama is doing, unlike the bush administration. a fm radio and other stations are bent on negative comments about the president -- am radio. mike clear message is we need to look at people who are serving this country. maybe they need to have a university of washington, d.c. for people who serve this country with a minimum salaries so they will not be corrupted by money and the big corporations and things like that which manipulate our system. host: a tweet --
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let's hear from a republican caller, patty. caller: bills have been passed. the senate controlled by democrats. it's always the republicans giving in on everything. you never hear of a democrat coming over to the republican side to help pass a bill. it's always the democrats. as long as the democrats have controlled the senate, there will be nothing. these executive orders -- president obama has signed more executive orders of any president that i know of, going past congress to do what he wants to do. that is illegal as far as i am concerned. host: what your message to congress? caller: that they need to get together.
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there are bills that could be passed. they need to go through them and figure out how to work them out and then bring it back and pass it. if obama vetoes it, and it's time to get him out. that's the bottom line. host: now this --
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greg is an independent caller in north carolina. caller: thanks for taking my call. i have a dream to own my own business. my pain is the division of motor vehicles. of the that's one processes that keeps people from getting to work. we are no. 27 in education. it seems as though we are making
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a driver's license more important than a college degree. i don't get. -- i don't get it. president obama, bless his heart, he's trying all sorts of things, but it looks like he is the fall guy for the republicans and incompetences. i am independent because i don't see why they are bipartisan about idiotic procedures within the division of motor vehicles that affect my life when they are partisan about issues that don't matter at all. i have been in situations where i am in a vehicle with another military service member. i am out now. some cop stops him and doles out
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tickets. it makes no sense to me. host: we are talking about what your messages to congress. jody writes -- what's your message to congress? mike is a republican in florida. caller: i'm calling from daytona. i generally vote republican. i don't see how we can compromise. democrats have abortion in their party platform. now they are for homosexual issues. and the president says he is christian. i don't see how christians
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can vote for homosexual marriage. i believe our president is a marxist. host: does that relate to your message to congress? caller: it relates to a message to the people. host: final thoughts? caller: ok, i have books on christianity. one of them is by the pope. he says religious ideology is part of marxism. i have another book written by a communist victim who had preached the gospel. he showed his scars that received from them just for preaching.
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i've got other sources. obama believes, liberation theology. he only quit it when it's preacher came under fire, during the campaign. host: bill is a democrat in indiana. caller: i would like to talk about congress. get ridy want to do is giv
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of poor people. they want to get rid of middle class and the unions. they don't believe in retirement plans. they keep having hearings about banks losing money. people lost $2 trillion in their 401k plan, there was not a committee or anyone talking about that. host: what would you change, b -- bill? caller: well, i would change something about how the government is run. they talk about protecting our borders at the south. what you have to worry about is the main gate coming through. they have trucks from mexico,
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they're not allowed to check them or anything. that's where all the dope dealers and gangs are coming from and going to all the cities in the the nobody's talking about that. all they can do is keep passing laws against the citizens of the united states. i don't understand that. host: a tweet -- here's a story from the usa today -- let's listen to mitt romney on nbc. [video clip] >> i say we are going to replace
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obamacare with my own plan. even in massachusetts where i was governor, our plan dealt with pre-existing condition. allnot getting rid of health care reform. there are a number of things i like in the health care reform that i will put in place. to make sure those with pre- existing condition can get coverage and to ensure the marketplace allows for individuals to have a policy that covered their family up to whatever aid they might like. i want individual to able to buy insurance on their own as a post only being able to get it through their company. host: that was mitt romney yesterday on meet the press. here is a headline from the financial times -- the story about youth, but first
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one more call from glen on our independent line in oklahoma. turn down your tv so we can hear you. you are on the air. what do you have to say to us? , ma'am.yes when obama got in there were talking about saving billions of dollars every month. i have never heard anything. people on ssi or social security get less than $700 a month. if the governor would take out $100 a month out of everybody
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check on low income and let them pay the taxes on the houses that have been seized by the government and everything, then after the taxes are paid off, but would not back to pay any more rent and they would only receive $500 a month or so. i pay $500 a month alone for rent and i get $678. all these houses that they collect, sell them to low-income people and let them pay them off at $100 a month and adjusted the hundred dollars a month for the rest of their life. the government would be gaining as well as the people. i pay $500. if i'm only paying $100 a month, and i can go by some new clothes or shoes or go fishing or something like that. but the way it is right now, we cannot do anything.
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we've had a storm in oklahoma and we lost everything in the last week's. -- weeks. that's not the issue. the government should let the people on low incomes rent the house is out at about $400 a month or. $500 a or host: more young adults have insurance after the health care law. the share of young adults without health insurance fell by 1/6 in 2011 from the previous year, the largest annual idecline.
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a health-care policy ken is joining us from massachusetts on the democratic line.
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caller: the one thing i would like to see change, two-term limits. i am tired when it to about public servant from a particular state. corporate funding of our elections has skewed so much. all i have thought about recently is if you can only get two terms, it does not allow you to colle all the money from the corporations. all they would have to do is deal with their legacy, which is a powerful motivator. that's all i have to say. i am an independent from massachusetts. i am really looking for some answers from either party.
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thanks for your time. host: a tweet -- we're asking about your message to congress. this story was in the wall street journal late last month --
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"usa today says obama gets a slight bounce from his democratic convention. the president opening a lead over romney in a close race. fredericksburg, virginia, bouys, a republican. -- louise.
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caller: i agree with the guy from indiana, from massachusetts, and oklahoma. the guy from indiana and one from oklahoma sounded very distressed and that's very sad. i agree with term limits for congress. i also want to point out that the right-wing is going to attack governor romney because they did romneywin. newt gingrich lost. -- the right-wing is going to attack romney because they did not win. newt gingrich lost. they want to change the way that the finances work, the way that ought, the waycked health care is performed. the reason romney agree with some changes in the health care
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law is because this is george bush's plan. bush came up with the exchange between states where you can buy across state lines with coverage for your children. this is what president george bush proposed in 2004 or 2005. so i agree that need to be kept. i hope republicans win. i hope the man in massachusetts here is the agony in the indiana and the oklahoma caller. without the earned income credit, which was passed by richard nixon, there will be in many, many poor people. we. and- we have too many ngo's micro finance people, so-called neliberals seen as helping
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people but they are creating more bureaucracy, a so-called counselors who will help you to help yourself. -- the neoliberals. we can pay our own bills and take care ourselves while keeping an eye on the people who live on $12. we lost $7 trillion from our 401k plan in 2000, decimated, at the end of the clinton administration. nobody says a word about that. with the housing bubble in 2008, we crashed tremendously. anybody could obscene we were paying $300,000 for a two bedroom house that you could see straight through to the back door. something was terribly wrong.
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so i really hope and really hope that people pick out the left and the right -- kick out the left and the right. i hope the republicans will stick to their guns as opposed to caving like they did in 2001 and 2003 when they decided to create a homeland security and all this, because somebody said we should federalize the tsa. host: we will be talking about the tsa at 9:15, howard has evolved and how much taxpayer money funds it. that's at 9:15. let's look at some comments --
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franklin, north carolina, georgia on our independent line. what's your message to congress? caller: good morning. i would like to see them all gone. i have not inherited a couple billion dollars, so i don't get much influence buying anybody. i am doing voodoo in the backyard. my message would be, you all have a good retirement. that's all i have to say. host: on twitter --
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tacoma, washington, camera on is meron.blican -- ca caller: thank you to c-span and all the people in the back room that make it work. and i appreciate all your moderators. my message to congress is tax reform. without tax reform we will not get out of this met. they should reduce corporate tax to zero. there are a bunch of progressives in the democratic party than have a look on their face when you say corporate tax to zero. if you did that, think of how much money corporations could pay. all the listed paid agreement
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would be nullified -- all of agreementst would be nullified. i was lucky to talk to senator judd gregg when he was on over a month ago. now he's a lobbyist for goldman sachs. his answer was it is not doable. make your officials understand that the corporations being a vampired by the government is the problem. we need our wages higher because of corporations needing to pay more money. host: here are some are some here are some comments from facebook --
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what's your message to congress? you can share that on facebook. you can also call into the numbers or send us your tweets. st. petersburg, florida,. bob, note on the independent line. caller: i have not had help care since i was 18, under my parents' policy. why do you have to push it up to e an adult at 18?an a i pay as i go. i don't have a health care plan. it's better for me, for my finances, to pay as i go. i only spent $1,200 last year
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for my whole family. when it comes to housing, it's gone down another 30% or 40%. fannie and freddie will wind up owning all the houses and the government will be the landlord just like they are the collectors for the taxes through the irs. it is just a big scam on the american public. i don't agree with it. the dollar will lose its world currency status after 2015. . that's my thank you very much. -- that's my prediction. host: we have a couple comments on facebook about farm legislation --
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we will hear more about that in a few moments with some guests who will give us more insight into the legislative agenda of congress. but first let's look at this -- in florida, cheryl is on the democratic line. caller: hi, libby. i want the republicans to sit grover norquist down and have a talk with him about removing that ridiculous pledged that hurting everyone. -- pledge. and to the woman who called to say the republicans should get
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it, they will not. romney and ryan should have a confessional in their church. they don't pay as much as they say they do, it's obvious. host: the president turns the talk to medicare in florida -- and this picture of the president on the campaign trail at a stop in fort pierce, florida. lifted off the ground by the owner of the pizza restaurant at an unannounced stop. the man had done record-breaking worked in promoting it blood donations in his area. that's why the president stopped by. later on, robert dix be will
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talk about the fiscal cliff and what are the plans from president obama and republican nominee mitt romney to help curb the debt. that's all in a moment. we will be back soon.
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>> walked and to engage with c- span as our campaign coverage continues toward election day and the presidential candidates prepared to face off in 390- minute october debates. wednesday the third, domestic policy is the focus, the university of denver. tuesday the 16th, the candidates will take audience questions in a town hall meeting in from hofstra university. the final debate on monday the 22nd, questions will be on a foreign-policy in florida. also, watch vice-presidential candidate debates on thursday the 11th in danville, ky. and through the election we will cover key house and senate
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elections, looking at control of congress. follow our coverage on c-span, c-span radio, and online at c- span.org. tch c-span and c- span 3 because its important to be knowledgeable about what's going on in the world. i feel that c-span gives the most information about what's going on on specific subjects where a lot of television does not do that. >> hilary watches c-span on comcast. c-span, created by america's cable companies, brought to you as a public service by your television provider. >> "washington journal" continues. thanks to both of
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you for being here. jason, we are seeing congress may only be in for two weeks. guest: it's a little less than two weeks. that is primarily the house. we will have a full five-day work scheduled this week and monday and tuesday we will be off because of the jewish holy day. it will come back wednesday and thursday and friday of the following week. but host: why such a short time? guest: part of it is the conventions. the conventions gradually have moved towards labor day as opposed to a july forecast. i remember even eight years ago we had july conventions and some political analysts believed they closer toh it to electi
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election day to get more leverage. the way the schedule works out sometimes, it feels like they are rarely eat here. they have been gone five weeks and they will be here all weekend and have and they're gone for another week. and theoretically they are back for another week and then they go home. then the lame-duck starts, when everything will be resolved. host: top issues on the agenda? guest: spending for 2013. we have two weeks left until the end of the fiscal year. they have agreed to a six-month extension of spending for the next year. that will avoid all the talk about a possible shutdown, which would play into the election, which no party wants. so they will be saved from that. then the two big issues remaining for the year would be what happens at the end of this year on taxes, will the levels go up or stay the same for some? and a sequester, what happens
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with the looming debt in january where we have to start cutting money out? those issues will be dealt with in november and december. host: here are the numbers to call if you would like to talk about the congressional agenda -- are we likely to see farmers coming to congress to lobby? guest: we have not seen any suggestion there will be s on the mall.rs i was in missouri and it is amazing how often the farm bill comes up from regular folks.
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there is a lot of anxiety about whether congress can find a way to get a farm bill dunt. sometimes the farm bill is delayed a year and there are fights about how much farmers get or how much food stamps will get. with thoughts of relatively brutal drought, but there would be no farm bill to take home before the election is a little disturbing to a lot of the people who produce the bulk of the food supply in this country. host: what kind of things are senator claire mccaskill hearing on the campaign trail? guest: it depended on the audience. if she went to her all modern, the university of missouri columbia, she spent a lot of time fielding biographical questions. like what got you into politics? shifting venues, some people,
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her message was that there are big differences between her and her republican candidate todd akin over issues like student aid and social security and help care. surely try to hammer that home. there were some questions about townth care in one co outside kansas city, a farming community. a lot of questions about health care for veterans. some even about fema, flood plain redistricting, which i had not heard as a new topic. it depended on the audience. what was interesting to me was people were engaged on a variety of topics. the funding bill for the next six months did not really, as much -- did not really come up as much. and the congress was hoping they could not deal with it.
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it is a colossal failure of dealing with the most basic function of government, which is funding. and the six-month extending of funding does not really get you anywhere except for. -- except for parost: - for the course. host: why is the? farm the? why is the farm bill so important? guest: there is food stamps as part of it. how much will this cost is the issue? a lot of republicans don't like that so many people are on food stamps. some of it is commodity price increases and the economy not doing well and people need it more is the reason it has increased.
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every time we see something dead in its tracks is because of how much does it cost? the republicans have ended up getting their way on many of the issues. host: our first caller is robert on our republican line in logan, utah. caller: good morning. my comment is about the congress. it the first two years of president obama's time in congress, he had the congress and the senate and was able to pass a lot of legislation. however, most or a lot of that legislation was not very popular. so the second congress -- the second house under his administration was filled with those opposed to the things that he had passed. that's why we have this gridlock right now.
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i think it is very unfortunate that we would give a president that kind of power and then to see the results, because he made so many people unhappy with his obamacare and his cap-and-trade and other things that he forced through the congress without any republican backing or support. when you do that you are going to alienate a large population of. large population of this country. i don't know if people are still angry about what he did that he would not have support and congress once again would be divided because of his forcing through unpopular programs.
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my message to congress would be to do what the constitution gave them the power to do. and that is to stop legislation that is bad for the country and to try to come to gather. from what i can see, and i have been watching this on time, there is no give on the democratic side. the only way anything can come together is if the republicans capitulate and do what the democrats' demand. there's so much anger. it's hard to forgive on either side right now. you don't see republicans saying they can stand any tax increases or democrats saying they can live with and program cuts, so no one's happy at all. it is not the clinton administration. clinton wanted to do hillarycare and then the
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republicans came in and big government was over. you don't see any give. fiscal cliffsible with tax increases and the sequestered, because it's coming. neither party willing to go anywhere down that road. host: the republicans could win control of the house and senate and the white house and are pushing things off to the lame- duck session. guest: they have done that except for the spending bill, they decided nothing of substance will get done. if they were to get a short-term extension on a farm bill, it would be a feat. this puts a lot of pressure on the lame-duck. this has been the plan all along.
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if you see the house schedule, a house has been counting on going into session after the election since the beginning of the year. they are counting on four weeks or five weeks of a lame duck. there will be a lot of pressure on the lame-duck to avert a tax increase and a sequester. the sequestered came up on the campaign trail as well. people are aware of it and are bracing for it. a lot of pressure on the lame- duck. host: on our democrat line from colorado it is our next caller. caller: c-span is our one free voice. how many people listening our aid to like me and have a perfect long-term memory and we remember when we have the best country in the world because everybody had a chance? don't be fooled. grover norquist is and has been a spokesperson, a lobbyist, for the national rifle association. we have many powerful groups in
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this country. i have travelled extensively through the world. every other developed country has health care. in 1996, a person from the took healthcare planet too $111 million in one year and then resigned. the average ceo this greed is rampant. when they get people like the koch brothers -- $100 million donor club. we have the supreme court and everybody has a right to have -47. ak
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the well regulated militia it is our armed forces. host: you said you lived a long life so far and you remember the best time. caller: the best time was after world war ii. we had in many areas 100% unemployment. host: we will leave it there. here is an op-ed by chales koch . let's go to indiana. hi, aaron. good morning. caller: my issue covers democrats and republicans from
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congress down to local levels of government. one issue that has not been brought up and has been split under all social issues including religious issues and education is issues of labor. by that i mean -- year people talking about illegal immigrants and talking to the country. you don't hear a page on the irs website about contractor fraud. people are getting paid under the table in our country. this is something that is not played up as a huge issue but it is can issue it is put up on the ira's tax websites. host: any chance congress would be taken up these issues? guest: it is pretty unlikely.
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they have had some opportunities to address immigration and they did not. it remains to be seen whether there is an appetite for that in the coming years. host: pat from park city, illinois. caller: i had voted for republicans last year although i did vote for obama. kind of disappointed that republicans did not do what they said they were going to do. they made all kinds of pro mises. it is very saddening to not see a lot of things pass. we have the farm bill and other
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things like that. i have a comment. please read "rolling stone" magazine. a kind of explains what romney is about. i was disappointed to hear what he was about, taking jobs overseas. i do support the union's and the farm bills, because people do need to eat. i'm hoping they can come together and not have too many discriminations against the poor and the middle class because we are the people of the united states of america. thank you very much. guest: everyone is unhappy.
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a lot of republicans were not happy. they wrestled the government down to almost a spending freeze but not quite -- th. people were about what happens to women and children. it is two different ways of it.ing addet republicans want to cede the programs cut and the yoke in trouble for slowing the rate of growth. it is the reason for everything being slow, money. host: what is the danger of congress not acting before the end of the year, jason dick?
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guest: if congress were to do nothing, head down to the bahamas and go fishing, then the tax rates would spring back to the levels that we were at during the clinton administration and the top tax rate would be a 39.6% and some of the other rates would go up. the payroll tax rate would go away. there would be more withheld for social security in our paychecks. the automatic domestic spending cuts would go into effect. the deficit would be cut. this has become the big reason for people saying every bill coming down the pike is framed
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in a spending fight. almost every credible economists is saying this would put us back into recession. people would have less money to spend. never mind taking a vacation or replacing york 10-year-old car. detergentto brand x and people would have less at the end of the year. the more conservative estimates are from 1% to 3 % cut in the gross domestic product. host: let's take a listen to what candidate romney had to say. [video clip] >> the president was responsible for coming out with specific
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changes. it was supposed to have come out this past week. he has violated the law bank that he signed. my own plan to bring down their rates of taxation is by making sure we do not lower taxes on high-income people. will not have those people pay less. i do want to bring taxes down for middle income people. do not want them to pay taxes on dividends and capital gains. host: this is paul ryan. "face the nation." [video clip] i did. i did vote for it.
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i was looking to find common ground. it was a big down payment and a step in the right direction. bob woodward just wrote this in his book. they did not want to face another debt ceiling. politicsputting first. cutting wasteful washington spending to replace these defense cuts. host: that was paul ryan on cbs. bob woodward will be our guest next week. what it means for members of congress on issues like sequestration. guest: they put together the
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super committee. we're ready to go and it was over. they slapped "super" on this committee and there was nothing super about it. this was the big grand scheme, to pick it up to his chosen group of people and it ended pretty quickly. italy will looking at the cuts -- suddenly we were looking at the cuts. no one seems to be happy with the defense cuts. there is a lot to mix together to combine into a megadeal. guest: it is interesting to see the pressure begins to grow in this town. it is almost there's been a
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collective dream where we wakeup and it is the last day of class and we have not studied are gone to class but we have a final, and it seems like there is a little bit of this going on with congress. this was a law that was duly passed and signed by the president. there is some speculation that some people were rooting for failure of the super committee so they could have leverage. this is what they have to deal with. i think they'll are in a little bit of the ndenial. host: jason dick, house editor for "roll call."
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pete kasperowicz. let's hear from david honor democrats' line. caller: good morning. i heard the country should allow -- driving off the fiscal cliff. i see romney squirming at the word "sequestration." what it raise revenue? what about that idea? guest: there has been speculation that if the fiscal cliff is driven off of, that republicanselease
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from their pledge. now that the taxes have gone up, it is a matter of lowering them. we do not know how serious this is. it doesn't change the underlying problem, which is they have precious little legislative time to deal with these issues and they are not doing themselves any favors by durtively coming into town an passing some bills and leaving. it would release them from any kind of pressure because they would only be of lowering taxes at that point. that is a gamble i don't think anybody would want to take and speaks to how much pressure that
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people are feeling. host: brad from arkansas, an independent. caller: i have two suggestions for advice on the budget, for the deficit. my first suggestion would be cut a lot of the military. as i see it, the war on terror is being conducted by basically covert operations. i do not think we need to schedule military to do that. if we could leave out the standard military, that could save us a lot of money. i think we need to end the war on drugs, particularly marijuana. if it was legalized, not just
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for medical purposes, that would break the back of the mexican mafia. 60% of their profits comes from the sale of that drug. it would increase the revenue and services in the places that could grow them here in the united states. if we follow the same model that we did with alcohol, having tight controls with who grows it and who sells the, i think we would have success and save a lot of money. i know we have a big, big bureaucracy. host: we will get their thoughts. an attraction for these thoughts he brings up? guest: a lot of people want to cut debt further.
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probably most democrats agree with the caller. this issue splits republicans. some tend to say, let's cut everything but defense. how does it anend? on the drug issue, i'm not sure we spend as much on the war of drugs. ron paul made a good bid. we saw some bills that he introduce to legalize marijuana. i'm not sure how much that would save. those ideas are out there and i do think they will be part of the mix. host: the veterans jobs bill before the senate. the senate will take
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you vote to take a vote by senator bill nelson to open up more avenues for employing veterans. this could proceed and we could have some action in a bipartisan vote in the house. we could see it snared up by some demands by how many amendments should be offered. this has tripped up a lot of legislation this year. republicans think they are being cut off by harry reid. a lot of legislation has ended in a dead road. there were a few success stories in the senate over the summer. they left some amendments through and past the
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transportation bill and then they pass the farm bill, which is waiting for house action. no one wants to disappoint veterans in an election year. we might see a better chance for success on that. host: we have a tweet from maverick. let's get back to the phones and hear from david in houston. good morning. caller: i have an answer to part of the problem that we have with our federal government right now and that is in regard to congress. i think it is time we have term limits. anytime you have a career member of the house or the senate, i
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think it is pastime. i see no where in the constitution where we were to grant careers of that length of time to a person that is supposed to be represent the people. that is too long. we have people from california to new york that have committed felonies that are serving in our congress and in our senate. we have people that get so ingrained into our bureaucracy as politicians that millions of dollars go into their spouse's banking careers or chicken of the city, people and real estate, mr. charles rangel or barney frank.ra
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we need to have term limits. the next time they come up for election after 20 years, they have to get out of office. the reason why they would be allowed to be in a federally elective office would be for the presidency or vice presidency of the united states. host: let's get a response from jason dick, house editor of "roll call." art they feeling like david, that the members who represent their house or senate race should be turned out because they have been there too long? guest: i think there is frustration on the campaign trail. people are upset with congress but they'll like their own
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congressman. that is changing a little bit, particularly in the house. the ultimate turn limit is elect them and. there's nothing to prevent people from missouri to prevent claire mccaskill a second term. that is the ultimate check on power in term limits. incumbents to have an advantage in terms of name recognition. i did not think anybody anticipated the level of turnover that we saw in the house. the voters ultimately to have that right. california at the state level has said term limits for members
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of the house delegates and the senate. most people would take a glance at california and the budget situation and say that that's -- there are several problems but term limits has not worked to make a more perfect union in california. host: "the washington post" takes a look and there is a map that shows the states that are in play. republican to need -- republicans need four seat to gain control and six are tossup. the postal service. it was a hot issue earlier this summer. all kinds of fiscal problems.
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guest: we have not seen the house to anything. what the republicans want in see inill, they want to large part with the post office is doing, reducing their size and giving people the incentive to leave if they have been there for a long time. the republicans get what they want by letting the postal service deal with the situation they have now. democrats are not happy with this. they're losing $25 million a day and $5 billion a quarter. in large part the republicans get what they want without doing anything.
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i would be surprised to see the house rush back to do this anytime. it could come back in november and december in some way. host: is this playing out politically with house members? guest: there is a true emotional connection that people have to their post offices. a rural area of arizona. the postal service was the address on my father's driver's license. people have a real connection to their post offices. they know their postal carrier. once the cuts start to hit, if they do, you'll see a lot more
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people engage in this and say, you're not supposed to close my post office. just there are not the waste, fraud, and abuse -- just ferret out the waste, fraud, and abuse. host: we have a tweet from j.thompson. caller: thank you for taking my call. korean, ld war ii, vietnam war veteran. this country has a moral obligation to take care of military. everybody should be able to serve this country, not be an
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excluded like the five romney boys. why haven't they serve to defend this country? i'll hang up and let the and to be from these gentlemen. guest: it is interesting to see this increasing divide as we get further and further away from the time when we had a universal draft. we have come to rely on a smaller part of the population to fight our wars. this puts an enormous amount of pressure on the military. people have gone to iraq and afghanistan multiple numbers of times. people know they are heading to places that are some of the most
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dangerous places on earth. even if people do not serve in the military, they yelled feel the obligation. -- they feel the obligation. is aice president's son war veteran and he said this is the one true obligation that we have. the political parties are aware just how important the veterans are to the process and to the growth of the country. they will likely be hit in terms of budget cuts if it kicks in. that is another emotional thing. that is a connection that people have to the military. if they'll are affected in some way, but could be political
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consequences that nobody could have considered before. host: michael and massachusetts. -- massachuset -- michael in massachusetts. caller: do you think they are going to bicker? run the country like you run your household. do what is best for everybody. this bickering is nonsense. we send them to washington. we should be able to fire them if they are not doing their job. i know people around the world are listening. you do what is best for
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everybody. host: is that affecting your vote? caller: i voted for obama and that think he is doing a great job. he is being blocked at every turn. we all know why. thank you for taking my call. host: gridlock. guest: it is everywhere. it is good advice. do not fight in front of the kids. they come out with posters and call each other names. there are some rules about how that needs to work. there is no jail for being a little silly on the floor. the person warn you not to do it is coming up next and may do the same thing.
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on somesome level -- level, this is a political platform sometimes. host: let's talk about what is going on in this seems away from the cameras. so many issues on the agenda. what is happening behind the scenes? a lame duck session and big fiscal issues. guest: they are waiting for the election to happen. then someone gets an advantage based on the result. "oh, god, "two more years of this." everybody disagrees. the hearings are somewhat
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productive. they do talk when they are not on camera. that is where they got the highway bill done and the 2013 spending deal and public how to deal with the fiscal cliff. host: are their players that you are watching? guest: it depends on the chamber. i think it is fascinating. people focus on the democrats versus republicans. we have almost a coalition -- some of the far-right elements of the republican party. for the biggest issues on the you have a lot of democrats providing the margin for the house.
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so people like steny hoyer, republicans like mike simpson, people who have been around for a while and people who know how to get things done and get votes. guest: you will see it this week when you see the spending bill. some republicans did not like it. a lot of republicans will not be happy. you'll get some democrats to vote with tit. host: bonnie, are you with us? let's move on to dot. hi, dot. good morning. caller: how are you doing?
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i agree with the previous caller that called about politicians being in office. i don't think they should be able to stay in longer. all this money going out for campaigning. we should put back into the economy. they go on vacation and pass something and do not pass it. they get paid whether we get paid for not. i don't know how i'm going to vote yet. i have not made up my mind. host: thank you for calling, dot. let's get a response from jason dick. guest: there is this kind of
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stunning realization of how much money is in politics. this is not a cynical view. that money is being poured into local television and radio stations and paying the salaries of operatives in states and paying for gas that goes into cars to traverse it states. it is the money being spent in campaigns is being used in a way that benefits a lot of local economies. that's something people did not necessarily think of. a decent bulk of that money is going into a local television station. host: we have a tweet from james.
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final thoughts from you, pete kasperowicz, before we wrap up this morning. do we see tea party element alive and well? is that on the minds of congress? guest: they have a couple of weeks to do stuff and i do not think things will change in a couple of weeks. this week they will be doing spending because they have to. it will be interesting to watch . how that goes determines a lot of next year. spending continues to be the issue. the debt is the bigger and bigger risks. bill clinton said we have to manage the data or -- the debt
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or it will manage us. host: pete kasperowicz from "the hill," thank you so much for being here. and jason dick, thank you to you as well. up next, robert bixby of robert bixby. later on, mickey mccarter. we'll be right back.
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>> watch and engage with c-span as the candidates prepare to face off in debates. on tuesday, the candidates will take audience questions in a town hall meeting from hofstra university. questions shift to foreign policy from florida.
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watch vice-presidential candidate debates on thursday the 11th in danville, kentucky. and through the election, we will cover key house and senate elections, looking at control of congress. follow our coverage on c-span, c-span radio, and online at c- span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: robert bixby is the executive director of the concord coalition. guest: there is nothing import about one particular number. what is important is how fast it is growing. it is kind of alarming. data as a percentage of our economy is about - -th- the debt as a percentage of our
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economy is about 100%. the $16 trillion -- we have to bar close to call dollars trillion and the rest is a government trust funds. that is money the government promises to pay itself. it is all part of the national debt. host: the difference between the debt and the deficits. guest: the annual deficit adds up to the national debt. right now we're adding about $1 trillion a year, just because spending exceeds revenues. we have to go out and borrow the difference. we have to look at fiscal policy and how we are going to close that gap between revenue and
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spending. host: this story by the associated press. host: it explains a little bit about the financial situation. talk to us about the idea of how much we are borrowing for every dollar that we spend. guest: the statistic is accurate. we are spending way above what we are taking in. living above our means, so to speak, and borrowing on the
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rest. you try to live off your credit cards, that is what we're doing. host: you can join the conversation. here are the numbers to call. democrats, 202-737-0001. republicans, 202-737-0002. independent callers, 202-628- 0205. who owns are debts? guest: it is all real money. about $12 trillion it is money we got and borrow from the market's s. of that, close to half, in the high 40's, is money we borrow from other countries. china and japan are the leading countries that lend us money.
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the other is domestic borrowing. people that buy treasury bonds and companies, investors, pension funds. this is a broad mix. there is about $4 trillion, almost $5 trillion of money that is part of the debt is owned by the social security trust fund and medicare trust fund. that is not money we have to borrow on the private markets but it does represent money the government will have to pay for future benefits. host: let's get from the phones. tina from indiana on our independent line. caller: hi. thank you for taking my call. all we hear about is how we need to cut this and cut that.
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there is no discussion about increasing revenue. this has been tainted -- paintetd by the politicians in the media -- painted by the politicians in the media. all these --all we seen is, "more trade, more trade." looking at katrina and how well they all are doing. we need to go back to imports. i know what i'm going to get when i say that. "we have tried that during the depression and it did not work." now we import about 80%. we have lost our manufacturing
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base to a large extent. jobs that pay a living wage. guest: your overall point was revenues need to be on the table and i think that they do. rabin as as a percentage of the economy are low. part of that is because the slow economy and because of the tax cuts that were enacted over the past decade and extended over the slow growth with had recently. the payroll tax cuts. look at revenues as a share of the economy, around 16% and it has been around 15% in the last couple of years. it is usually around 18.5%.
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i think there is room for looking at new revenues. i suspect you would not get a whole lot of new revenues in the tariff scheme you proposed and it would perhaps be a restriction on trade that might not be good for the economy. i guess i'm not enthusiastic about the remedy that you propose but i do agree with you that revenue should be part of the mix. host: we have a graph that looks at the projected debt from the concord coalition's website. you can see the omb historical debt levels and then the gao projection.
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what concerns you most in what we're looking at here? guest: the sudden sharp rise at the end. that is what it is illustrating, the growth of the debt. we used to have big spikes in debt for things like war and recession. the basic problem is we have a fundamental structural deficit between the spending promises and the revenues that we're bringing in. the most alarming thing is that even if we assume a strong economic recovery and a complete withdrawal from overseas operations, that line was still look pretty much the way it does because of the underlying mismatch between spending and revenues. host: good morning from florida.
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caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i keep hearing the top 5% are paying 40% of the taxes. what percentage would they have to increase to shrink this debt that leads to the deficit? it is strange when you hear they are paying 40% now. could you get much more out of them to shrink this debt? i know there's a large proportion that is not paying any taxes. i'm in that group. it just seems that we are not going to be able to get it to shrink this debt on the
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shoulders of such a few people. ouest: i think that to often we hear that all we need to do is raise taxes on the rich. taxes have been cut and the rich have benefited. you can think about going back to the tax rates from before the 2001 rate cuts. we had those rates in the 1990 's and the economy did fine. more revenue increase on a progressive basis would be fine. you cannot do it all by saying, if we tax the rich -- the tax rates of 80% or 90% to make a
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serious dent, only by taxing the rich. that is not the entire solution. we have to look on the spending side. that might be something that everybody has to jachip in. host: has the economy taken a front and center role in the campaign? guest: the question is whether it has done so in a meaningful way or whether we're having a cartoonish debate. i think that the economy should get a thorough airing, and maybe it will during the debates. i hope the debates focus on the
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economy and the deficit and what we do about it because there are different views between the president and governor romney. when the heavy convention speeches, you hear a lot of the good stuff. "we're going to protect medicare and cut taxes and protect social security, nobody has to suffer a hit, except maybe some evil people. and we're going to close loopholes." these are not realistic solutions. i hope the debate helps to shed some light on that. host: listen to president obama speaking last thursday night. [video clip] >> i will put more people back to work, rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and
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runaways. after two wars, it is time to do the nation-building right here at home. [cheers] you can choose if future where we reduce our deficit without sticking in to the middle class. my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion, say independent analysts. those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so it is more responsive to the american people. host: president obama on thursday night. was a response -- what was your
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response? guest: he talked about money that we are not going to spend on the wars for investments. that is not a savings in any sense. it is kind of a budget gimmick. budget projections assume we will continue the war spending at the same level for the next 10 years. the president saying, "we're drawing down so we can spend the money on something else." it is metrolink a savings if you are not going to spend that money in the first place -- it is not really a savings you were not going to spend that money in the first place. ont's spend about 120
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highways and use the rest for deficit-reduction." 20 billion ing $130 that would not have been spending otherwise. you are not achieving deficit reduction. host: let's listen to mitt romney down in tampa. [video clip] >> this is when our nation was supposed to be paying down the national debt. this was the hope and change america voted for. t natchez what we wanted or expected -- it is not just what we wanted or expected. it is what americans deserve. to the majority of americans
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that believe the future will not be better than the past, if barack obama is reelected, you'll be right. host: mitt romney in tampa. guest: i think the most often heard criticism of the romney budget proposal is that you hear specifics on how much taxes should be cut but not how that would be paid for. i think that is a legitimate criticism. is real vagueness -- there is real vagueness to the plan. you can see whether they add up to long-term deficit reduction plan, but they are there and detailed.
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there is in such a plan that romney has put on the table. there are proposals for tax reductions, but he hasn't delved in to how he would do that. the devil is in the details. i hope the romney campaign will be more forthcoming in how the proposals will add up. host: the tax plan takes aim at loopholes and reductions. theresa from crofton, maryland. caller: good morning. this is the first time i've met a phone call in any political argument. on one side, i see president obama having a world vision of
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how europe, china, asia, south america, how there, it will affect us and vice versa. i do not see anybody speaking in depths about that. europe is growing worse, where the poor now have a terrible problem dealing with mothers and children, not enough food to eat and the ability of greece, putting their children out in foster homes because they know cannot feed them. demonstrations in spain and france where they are taxed equally.
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to think that romney has no vision of how this global economy is going to affect us. obama is trying to get that. i am at a point in decision about who to vote for. i am sick and tired of congress not doing what it is supposed to do, negotiating for the help of the country. i know this is a big or crazy question. i am looking at world economy. host: thank you for calling, teresa. he talked about not being sure who to vote for for president. what about house and senate races? caller: everything in this
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country is connected with leveling taxes. the tax has been unfair for generations. host: thank you for calling. guest: i think your global vision is a good thing. we do live in a global economy. what happens overseas does affect us all we do affects them. right now we're seeing some real problems in europe. there are dangers from excessive debt. it is difficult to reverse those policies. they involve tough decisions politically on spending and revenues. you can see why politicians keep trying to postpone the inevitable. some
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of measures taken in europe have been unpopular. we should do everything we can to get our fiscal house in order. what is happening in europe is going to affect our economy adversely. hear about headwinds from europe. they will not be buying our goods if the economy tanks in europe. exports are a good part of our economic recovery, but not if our trading partners are going broke. we need to learn some lessons about what is going on in europe. host: daniel tweets in this qu estion. guest: that is a matter of who owns the debt. the reason for the debt going
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up. the sharp increase has to do with the recession and the attempts to address it. a lot of the sharp increase in the debt is caused by automatic stabilizers. revenues go down automatically, people are out of work or are not earning as much, and so taxes of all. spending goes up on support programs such as unemployment compensation, food assistance, and come assistance, medicaid. we are seeing that at play. that might account for roughly 1/3 of the deficit of those automatic stabilizers. we've also seen attempts to combat the recession, the financial crisis -- in other words, the tarp program, various
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tax cuts that were enacted. plus, we had an underlying deficit to begin with. there are a lot of different factors. again, i get back to this point -- the real crux of the problem is that this is not just about a slow economy. we have rising health-care costs, rising costs for social security -- the big three entitlement programs, social security, medicare, and medicaid are going to be much more expensive as my generation begins to qualify for benefits. the traditional level of revenues is not going to keep up. you have this growing structural gap that is happening on autopilot not driven by waste, fraud, abuse. earmarks, congress spending like drunken sailors -- i mean, that maybe true, but the fundamental
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problem we have not addressed and are not addressing in this campaign is the structural gap between automatic revenue and automatic spending programs. host: bob bixby has been with the concord coalition for 20 years and served as executive director since 1999. past positions include being a volunteer state director in virginia, tennessee, and west virginia pit in 1992, he was the virginia code chairman -- code- chairman of the campaign of paul tsongas. he was the chiefs' staff attorney for the court of appeals for virginia. the concord coalition has an ad in politico today. it is "an open letter to our leaders in washington." what is the message? guest: the concord coalition is a bipartisan organization -- sam nunn and warren rudman, two
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former senators, are our cochairs. we have been arguing for a balanced fiscal policy. the message in the ad has to do with this fiscal cliff that is coming up at the end of the year where, for various reasons, we have automatic tax increase is going into effect and spending cuts going into effect. all that is intended to reduce the deficit, and we do need that amount of deficit reduction, but it would not be a good thing to let it all kick in at the same time. that would be a rather irrational response. what we are urging members of congress to do, with the other groups that you mentioned, is to make sure that any steps that they take to avoid the so- called fiscal cliff is not just kicking the can down the road again, but that they put in
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place some mechanisms to make sure that the structural issues are going to be addressed, and soon. it is not just kicking the can down the road. there needs to be strings attached. host: let's look at the debt. the national debt surpassed the $16 trillion mark last week. kentucky, our next location. mike, republican. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you guys? host: great, how are you? caller: great. i have a question for mr. bixby. i have watched the deficit issue through the ceiling. i cannot imagine solving an issue that we're not even willing to have an honest conversation about. a $16 trillion debt basic insolvency? mr. bixby? guest: well, the question of insolvency is whether or not you
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can cover your debts, and we can. we are not as a nation broke or bankrupt, but it is where we are getting to a point where you have got to get to the level that could cause problems. it will definitely cause problems down the road, because it is growing at an unsustainable rate. that is what you need to look at. right now, with the rest of the world in top shape, people are willing to lend us money and very, very, very rock-bottom interest rates. that is a danger, too, because it is like a national teaser rate. you take out a whole lot of debt at a very low rate, and when the interest rates go back out, you have got to refinance at much higher rates. you look at some of the projections -- we are spending $200 billion a year on interest now. you look at the projections, and
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it could be up to nearly $1 trillion in the next 10 years. that is the legacy of this debt. we worry at the concord coalition quite a bit about the impact of all of this on future generations. we are running up debt and not investing in the future. one of the other things that concorde is doing now is a project called strengthening of america for our children's future. we are working with other organizations in town to sponsor a series of hearings. they will be cochaired by sam nunn and former senator pete domenici. we are recruiting 35 former members of congress on a bipartisan basis to look at these key issues of what we do about health care, taxes, how we look at this as a national security issue, because it is. if we are running huge deficits
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and have to go to the rest of the world to borrow money to finance them, and if we have to cut defense spending by huge sums, then it becomes a national security issue as well as an economic issue. i am encouraged that there are a lot of groups in town that are taking up this challenge on a bipartisan basis. i think the public is willing to do it, to. a lot of it gets back to what you said. people where about are we facing insolvency and what does that mean for future durations -- generations. host: connie on our democrats' line. caller: good morning. they say that medicare and social security -- host: keep going, connie. caller: that social security and medicare is the big
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problem. no matter how much money you make, you have to -- host: you have to what? caller: no matter how little money you make, you have to pay medicare and social security. but when you get to $106,000, you don't have to pay any more. if everybody had to pay social security and medicare, that could help take care of paying for it. guest: well, it they do on make care. there is no income cap on medicare. there is an income cap on social security, 110,000. one of the social security reform options that is often talked about is raising that cap to bring in more revenue into the system, and i think that that, combined with things that would reduce the projected costs over time, things like raising
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the eligibility age -- obviously, you don't say to somebody that is 58 or something, well, guess what, you are going to have to wait a few more years. but you can say it that gradually -- can phase in gradually eligibility changes, make it slightly more progressive at the top so that wealthier people receive less. and you could combine that with an increase in the rate, the cap, as you mentioned. i bet you could work that out, a deal on the hill, if they wanted to stop playing politics and get something done and regain trust of the american people. i frankly think that they could start with social security and work out a deal on that.
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guest: well, you are absolutely right, and one of the things we are going to be doing an hour strengthening the of america forums -- our first witnesses will be former treasury secretaries jim baker, a republican, and bob rubin, a democrat. they will be speaking to our group to contact us if you would like to attend. i don't know if they are going to specifically talk about this, but one of the ideas we are going to talk about is this idea that you can broaden the tax base by getting rid of deductions and credits and loopholes and making the whole thing simpler, bring in more revenue that way. that allows you to lower rates. if all you are doing is raising rates on the current rickety,
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inefficient system, that is not the best way to raise revenue. but this what the simpson-bowles commission recommended, what the rivlin-diminish th -- rivlin- deomenici commission recommended. there are elements of this in the ryan budget. this basic idea of broadening the tax base and then using that to raise revenue rather than just raising rates is, i think, something that the party might be able to get behind. again, we have to work out the details, but there is a lot of potential. ant: let's hear from tyrone, independent caller in baton rouge, louisiana. caller: good morning, c-span, and how are you doing, mr. bixby?
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guest: good. caller: i did not hear anything mentioned about the, whether it was a republican or democratic convention. my point is simply this -- they can make all the promises and they want, but until they uphold the constitution and protect the constitution, as they swear under oath when they take office, you are never going to get this budget under control. the federal reserve creates the money. congress mandates -- i mean, the constitution mandates that congress regulates the money. we can hold them accountable to guarantee rights to vote them in and vote them out. until you uphold that, you are not going to solve this. you can have all the committees you want, but if nobody stands up -- except ron paul and maybe
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pat buchanan. get intoll, i don't monetary policy much, but i know what the caller is saying, that the government is tempted to simply inflate our way out of this problem and just print money. that is always a temptation and always a bad idea. so far, we have not seen the federal reserve pump money into the economy in a severe recession, and the question is going to be in the future how to withdraw that. what is the exit strategy to be able to recover without causing -- without that causing problems? i think the federal reserve
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andtem has been pretty good i responsible and help with the economy over the years. you really have to come back to the fundamental fiscal policy choices, just as families do, about how much income and how much you can spend based on that income. so long as it is responsible -- right now we don't have are responsible fiscal policy, and we shouldn't be relying on the fed to just print money. ben bernanke keeps saying, and the central bankers in europe keep saying, we need help, guys come from politicians. we need more responsible spending and taxes policies. host: from the website, a bar chart showing debt owned by foreigners.
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less than half of the u.s. public debt is actually held by americans. oklahoma, republican caller. good morning. lee, are you with us? caller: yes, ma'am. good morning, mr. bixby, and i also wanted to say good morning to tyrone. he made a very excellent point. i wonder if you could help me with this, mr. bixby. i know from what i've heard that this is not definite -- when it comes to loans we have made to china, i guess back to world war ii, and even through the different regime changes, supposed to hold true that the loans would be repayable no matter what. can you elaborate on that? is that true or not?
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it it is, -- if it is, do you see why we as the united states would not call them on that, on those loans, and in that way we could pretty well white out -- wipe out the amount we go to china for the debt -- the loans they have made to us? host: thanks for your call. let's go to bob bixby. guest: china has about $1.60 trillion of our debt. as a percentage of the total, they are the largest foreign holder of a debt. it is not a huge as a percentage of our total debt. but i wasn't real sure what the caller was getting at about -- it seemed like some sort of a debt swap. i am not really -- wasn't
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really follow wing that earlier. host: do we have any way to hold china ' to the fire? do we board anything over them in the way that they hold our debt? guest: it seems to be quite the opposite. if you are going to a country to finance your debt, that can affect foreign policy. can you drive a hard bargain, a hard deal with somebody that you are also asking for money? that is a concern. it is good that people want to buy our bonds, but it does create a certain vulnerability if you are becoming reliant -- particularly when at they and not have your best interests at heart. i don't think it is something to panic about, but it is a
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phenomenon we ought to keep an eye on. you don't want to be going too much money to any one source. host: bob bixby is the executive director of the concord coalition. thanks so much for coming in this morning. guest: thank you. host: coming up next, the tsa, the transportation security administration, and how it has evolved over the years. mickey mccarter is our guest. we will be right back.
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>> the presidential candidates prepare to face off in 390- minute october debates. -- 3 90-minute october debates. on tuesday, the 16th, the audience -- the candidates will take audience questions from hofstra university. on the final debate, questions will shift to foreign policy. also, watch the vice- presidential candidates debate on october 11. we will also coverage key house and senate races, looking at the control of congress. follow our coverage on c-span, c-span radio, an online at c- span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: on monday, we bring you our "your money" segment. today, joining us for our
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segment is mickey mccarter, the homeland security today washington correspondent. thank you for coming in. we are talking about the transportation security administration. give us the graaff overview of tsa's mission and how it has evolved as it as -- after it started. guest: there are about 425 airports or so where tsa screeners are stationed, and they are the most public face of the it department of homeland security for the public. everybody interacts with them when they take a flight anywhere these days. they have been trying to get a little bit more away from the guns, gates, and guards mentality. they are trying to be an agency that is a proactive instead of reactive. they are expanding their behavior detection program,
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tracking suspicious behavior in airports, and trying to beef up the air marshals as well. host: tsa was started 11 years ago, and nine years ago it became a part of the department of homeland security. what is significant about its place within dhs? guest: what is significant about it right now is that it has been reorganizing itself quite a bit, and the most public example of this is the screeners, the tsa screeners, were just allowed to unionize after a lot of resistance. the department of homeland security once said that we don't want you to unionize because it might pose a risk to national security and they cannot deploy quickly or if there is a squabble over where they are supposed to be at what time. there are those ways to bring training in and bring uniformity in and make the agency a lot more functional and on an even keel. host: mickey mccarter,
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washington correspondent for homeland security today. here are the numbers to call. mickey mccarter, how many people work for tsa, and what is the range of jobs and they do? you mentioned in the screeners. guest: the screeners are the vast majority of them. there are about 50,000 people or so at tsa in total. the screeners really are the bulk of that workforce. there are 4000 or so in air marshals, a couple hundred people trained as the fear detection folks, a couple hundred other people trained as service transportation inspectors. there are several topics -- hundreds of employees in several different spots. the screen or work force is the bulk of the agency.
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host: how uniform is the level of the screening at airports across the country? how similar is the experience at an airport in denver, an airport in houston, an airport in anchorage? guest: in theory, it should be exactly the same, but as we know from news reports lately, there have been a lot of lapses. the famous case in florida, a famous case in honolulu, where the screeners were found to be laying down on the job, literally sometimes. a lot of them got fired for that, others got reprimanded. in theory, they are supposed to be a lot more uniform and screening everything equally, passengers and luggage. sometimes that doesn't happen. host: numbers from the transportation security administration. the total tsa budget for 2012, $7.85 billion. and here is how it breaks down.
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$105 million to install scanners at 275 airports. $275 million for baggage screening equipment. for behavior detection officers , $212 million. let's talk about these behavior detection officers. what are they, and what do they do? guest: they are scattered around the airport and are looking for people who looked suspicious. they are trained in this concept that if you are swaying or acting erratically or something, you may be up to no good. host: they are in plain clothes. guest: they are, and they have come under criticism because people say this has not been independently evaluated. there is no scientific basis for finding somebody who is trying to do harm. actually, the success rate at spotting a terrorist is pretty low.
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for the most part, they are responsible for getting common criminals or illegal aliens or what have you, which may be important work but is not in line with their counterterrorism function. host: how much insight do you have, how much do they tell you about their techniques and methods? do you know how they differentiate between a nervous flier from someone who is up to no good? guest: i do in general, because that has come under criticism itself. i have seen these operations up close and personally, and this is sort of my specialty, how the mechanics of the agency function and how the money they are given is spent. getting back to the behavior detection officers, some people said that they are not really looking for the right things and some people who are committed to terrorism of some sort will at this steely gaze, look like they
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are very committed and focused. some of the critics have said, again, that perhaps you are looking for the wrong things. host: republican in pensacola, florida. caller: how are you doing, guys? i was curious, why isn't tsa hiring our veterans who are coming back from the war? they had experience in all this. they should be the ones getting the jobs first. they have been through it, they know what is going on. you know, they are coming home with no jobs and nothing. tsa should be hiring our veterans from iraq, afghanistan, where ever. they know which way they do things. guest: the caller has a great point. use that experience, put it to
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use, i think that tsa would be the first to say that it could do better in employing veterans. the department of homeland security does better overall than most federal agencies. i don't know that if every year is always hitting its target of the veteran hires, but yeah, the caller suggestion seems like a no-brainer. dealing with explosives, erratic behavior, would make a great tso -- transportation screening officer. host: gene tweets in. guest: this is interesting. there is a move on, republicans in congress in particular to privatize tsa an airport security and have contacting companies provide for the airport, much as they did before 9/11. democrats generally decry that
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and say that before 9/11, we had terrorists with box cutters going on airplanes. they say that now we are in a different environment and contractors would be better. just recently, john mica of florida wanted for it to be easier for contractors to become the screeners at airports. since that law passed, beginning this year, orlando and san francisco, two big airports, have gotten clearance to hire contractors instead of using federal screeners. it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. studies have shown that one so far has not really been more effective than the other. there is a perception among the public that private contractors tend to be nicer, maybe, just anecdotally. guest: well, that is an interesting observation.
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i personally have not flown in to san francisco since the change, so, that is an interesting observation. i would like to report on that. host: john is an independent caller in wisconsin. caller: i want to make sure you are not on the payroll of dhs or tsa. guest: no, sir, i work for an independent publishing company and all we do is publish homeland security today. caller: they have the scores of journalists that they buy. the tsa are not sworn officers. they are private security pilots. no. 3, they have never caught a terrorist, and ever. we spend billions on them. all right? no. 3, the real place we have to worry about, the people servicing the planes and
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luggage. there is virtually no security for these people. they are not examined very carefully, all right? the tsa should be abolished, and security should be handed back to where it belongs. guest: the caller raises some valid points. there are organizations here in town like the cato institute bit say to get rid of tsa, that they have never caught tourists, although tsa has pointed me to one or two cases where they had spied potential terrorists. there are lapses, as we are constantly finding out. somebody gets past security, somebody is handling luggage who should not be handling luggage. there are criticisms on both sides, and there are proponents for tsa and against them. host: let's talk about baggage screeners real quick. guest: well, you are supposed to
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be a trained tso to be handling luggage on behalf of tsa. there are people who work with them and throw luggage onto the plane after it is screened, what have you. the biggest technology program in tsa and it next year or two is going to be their explosive detection systems for checked baggage. of their life, and tsa will be spent -- those systems are at the end of their life and tsa will be spending money on them. john pistol is an fbi man, a deputy director of the fbi before he became a tsa administrator. the tsa and minister was basically a vacant position -- there was an acting deputy there for a year-and-a-half of the obama administration.
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when that they did get somebody in there, everybody agreed he was a great man for the job, and his stated goal is to make it tsa smarter. as a man who came on board the fbi and saw the fbi's intelligence role grow after 9/11, he wanted to do the same with tsa and have them be a little bit leaner, smarter, and a manifestation of that, for example, is the initiative and they have called pre-check. if they know you're flying patterns and history, they will now you are not a terrorist. they are trying to build a trusted traveler system so they can focus their resources on people date no less about. host: let's hear some comments the head of the tsa made last month in washington talking about the type of terrorist threat that concerns him the most. [video clip] >> the concern i have
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overseeing the counter-terrorism efforts is not so much that we know those who are on the watch list, the no-fly list, who should not be flying, or those who have some association with terrorism and who we believe deserve additional scrutiny. those are not the ones who cause me the greatest concern. it is those we do not know about who have been radicalized on the internet, as we see a number of individuals in the u.s. have been, and those who have the wherewithal, skills, the background, whether they are reading the "anarchist cookbook," whatever it is, developing a device that they can have in their carry-on bag were there checked back or perhaps shipping something on cargo. host: that is the head of the tsa, john is spistole.
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what can the tsa do about the concerns his raising? guest: part of it is the trusted traveler, focusing resources on people they know less about. where tsa comes into play, that is technology. that has been controversial, as they have been aggressively rolling out the advanced imaging technology -- the whole body imagers, which critics again too don't work, cumbersome. there is a whole bunch of criticism. tsa is really putting its face on this program, and it is interesting timing, because they brushed them out, and privacy organization here in d.c. basically sued tsa and said that you rushed these out to much and you should have had a proper formal rulemaking process, which
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can sometimes take several years, particularly if you are tsa and don't have a great track record to win roles like this -- issuring rules like this. tsa is suppose to be old in four runs on this technology starting next year -- tsa is supposed to be holding forums on this technology starting next year. host: democrats' line. caller: contract amount the jails, contracting out the schools. if they paid the american people -- that is what ronald reagan started, contractors. airports hiring their own people, screening them, turning them on the job. that is what america's all about, contractors. contractors is the problem, mr.. goodbye.
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host: contractors is the problem -- what we talked about earlier . there are democrats who criticized contacting security because they think profit would be the problem. the assault rationale -- was the whole rationale after 9/11. host: how much a role does the tsa have after the plane leaves the ground? guest: the air marshals are basically the cops of tsa. they don't really have law enforcement capability. what they do have is a sort of authority to detain you until law enforcement can come there and take over. air marshals are kind of like the police force of tsa.
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interestingly, the concept of the pilot with the flight crew being -- or the flight crew being deputized does happen. there is an affordable program when you look at how much -- only $25 million or so per year. it trains a pilot or another crewmember basically in fire arms so that they can act under of deputized station by the federal air marshal service, which is responsible for turning them in the use of firearms. host: mickey mccarter is washington correspondent at homeland security today. his experience includes reporting for the veterans business journal, congressional quarterly, and military information technology. he was also editor of defense ing.ultan
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you said in response to our caller's question, homeland security is unaffiliated with the federal government. -- homeland security today is unaffiliated with the federal government. guest: it is totally independent. host: independent caller bank in nevada. hi, don. caller: good morning. i think this is just another sign that our government is too big. i don't think that tsa does a capable job. israel has a better way to do things at the airport. they spend less than 1/10 of what we're spending and have less of a problem as well. can you tell me why our government or the people in charge are so averse to doing things the way it needs to be
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done, the way that israel does it? guest: the caller has a point that is often raised -- the caller has a point. that is often raised in congress. i think at adapting is the key word. it was like that, i believe in an airport in boston, and it was decided that it was too aggressive pit our sense of the civil liberties and civil rights were not really tolerate -- would not really tolerate the israeli capability to go in and just interrogate passengers that are suspicious. that said, did he fear detection officer program that we're talking about -- the behavior detection offers a program that we're talking about, the inspection on the spot, where they, for want of a better word, like the interrogate people coming through, disengaging them and asking questions and seeing if they displayed nervous tics
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or abnormal behavior when confronted with somebody -- that is sort of an idea that we got from israel. tsa really likes the program and intends on expanding it. host: here is the story from "the new york times" last month. "in interviews and internal compliance, officers from the tsa's behavior detection program asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles, like hispanics traveling to miami, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward, are more likely to be stopped, searched, and questioned for suspicious behavior what is th." what is the blowback from stores
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like this? guest: the tsa has been put on notice that they should not be doing that. directors of the federal oversight have been collecting data on that to see if over time this is with the case and if they are encouraging racial profiling. if it is bound to be that, i dare say that tsa will feel some blowback. host: wayne in wisconsin, welcome. caller: i guess at this point, if i heard your guest correctly, have they become unionized? guest: they have become unionized, although they have not struck a collective bargaining. -- that not struck a collective bargaining agreement yet. last i heard, they were in the stages of doing that. caller: tammy baldwin is my
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representative in wisconsin, so i don't stand a chance of correcting that. i am not against unions per se. but when you hear about human element in an organization as big as dhs, and by the way, president bush was opposed to setting it up like this for this very reason, the tentacles reaching out all over the place -- the tsa workers, i have a lot of respect for them, and i think they do a really tough job. but if they get wide-ranging union protection, trying to get rid of some of the bad apples -- we have seen it at gm, chrysler, ford -- is going to be impossible. for those that travel, and all of us americans, we should show up at the airport ready to be screened. we should show up at the airport working to present ourselves to make sure that we make the tsa -- tso's -- people's jobs
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easier, not looking for ways to press the buttons. we should be smart enough to figure out the kinds of things they're doing and make their jobs easier, as opposed to harder. host: we will leave it there and get a response from mickey mccarter. guest: i want to address two things the caller said. in their, tso's unions are not supposed to be able to campaign for or pay for mission assignments, anything that would affect national security with their employment with the government. in theory, again, tsa administration are supposed to be able to redeploy them at will when necessary. the second thing the caller said that is very interesting is that there are a lot of things that travelers can do to prepare themselves going to the airport, and the tsa web site, if you read it the travel tips,
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getting yourself ready, generally speaking emic your own screening a lot easier. host: "san francisco examiner" about a week ago -- "ex-air safety chief calls fancies scanners over till." "the former administrator says the machines are overkill and reflect a failure to understand the true purpose of airport security." there are also stories online. i was looking at one from "wired" talking about body scanners and whether you can opt out, and concerns from the american civil liberties union about it being evasive, but also help questions. when our caller talked about making it easier on tsa, how are americans dealing with the body scanners and screeners? guest: people in congress are
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pressing for an independent examination. the department of homeland security has gotten science and technology guys and the army to look at them, got in the food and drug administration to look at them. but there really has not been an outside look at them. as far as the health and safety concerns being exposed to radiation, the department's inspector general put out a report a couple months ago, six months ago, i think, sort repeating everything that had been out already, saying that these things seem say, except for, etc. but people are calling for a more independent evaluation. tsa is going to enter some sort of comment period. it has sold a circuit court in d.c. that it will open -- told a circuit court in d.c. that it will open body scanners to some sort of public comment, and in february, it will start holding
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focus groups. we will see how well they do that. host: arkansas, where daniel is a democrat. caller: tsa -- are they going to be in charge of the spy drone program over the united states? guest: the way it happens right now, as far as drones, under the department of homeland security. customs and border protection is the agency were the unmanned drones are going. cbp has about eight of those right now. the idea is to have enough of them so that if there is an emergency somewhere, cbp can lend them to another agency within the department of homeland security if they need it. i have never heard or seen any plans for that. host: question on twitter.
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guest: well, incoming flights is an interesting challenge. we have gone through a process over the past couple of years with the secretary of homeland security, janet napolitano, has struck all these international agreements where there has been a bi -- where we get information sharing. there has been a pushback from the european union and the, saying that we may a share to much information with you. and adapting the screening technology that we consider to be appropriate. in theory, everybody is going forward with a framework that all of the departing flights in the united states would have a certain amount of information being shared as well as a certain level of security technology deployed. host: mark joins us on our independent line. caller: how are you doing?
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6-time caller. god bless c-span. in 2002, when i was taking a security screeners test, one of the questions was if i agreed with the current administration's policies -- that would be the bush administration and's policies. i found that question offensive. i wonder if the tsa continues to ask political questions in regards to their testing, deciding who will be a good candidate. guest: i honestly don't know. i have not seen at the tsa's screen is just in some time. i suspect that if they do, the union, once it gets its collective bargaining unit together, would object to it whether it was the bush administration or obama administration, there would say,
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hey, how is this relevant to my job? it is something we should look into. host: let's look at the facts and figures surrounding airport travel in the united states. 635 million air passengers last year. 5175 public airports, 14,335 private airports. who is to say that someone -- a terrorist, someone who wanted to jeopardize flight safety, could not get on an airplane on a small airport, a private airport, one that is off the beaten path? guest: these questions come up in congress all the time. tsa prioritizes our biggest airports, where there is a lot of traffic, and that is because there has long been a sense that if we are going to be attacked,
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it is going to be from an international traveler. those hub airports that connects two international airports have been a big focus. this a very focused, which tsa is getting to as well, -- the second focus, which tsa is getting to technology get into those airports as well. private airports is a grave concern. tsa tried to make a rule on general aviation where they said that you have to have some level of security or screening. general aviation fought back on that a little bit. there, what you have is more of an agreement were those airfields or cooperating with tsa on individual cases, but there is still sort of a security regiment in place there. you know, i think some people say that if you are going to have a terrorist attack, the
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psychological capability of being able to beat tsa's aviation security measures and to rise an airplane full of passengers and blow it up or run into some sort of target is going to be a more effective terrorist propaganda tool than being able to seize a smaller private plane. host: we're talking to mickey mccarter about the transportation safety administration. it is our regular "your money at" segment where we look at how taxpayer money is spent. goohi, judy. caller: good morning. i am interested in finding out the starting salary and median salary is for the laborers and the divisions of the tsa, and finding out if that isn't why they are trying to organize. guest: there have been
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criticisms that may be screeners are not paid enough, that the work long hours. they generally make about $35,000 a year. they have their own pay scale, even though they are federal employees. they're not paid in general on the federal employee pay scale. air marshals -- i believe they are. they have particular expectations and pay grades. they are paid in line with other people that do their responsibilities. but the airport screeners at tsa are one of the lowest paying jobs you can have in the federal government. host: how much training do they get? guest: they get a lot more training now, certainly. they come in and train for about a month. depending on what they are going to do, and they train for another couple weeks in passenger check-in or luggage
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check-in. and then they are on probation for about a year. they are being watched, evaluated, trained. they get retraining period ically where it for a date they learn something about luggage scanners, what have you. if a new piece of technology comes their way, they get turned on as well. host: -- trained on that as well. host: independent caller bank, will come. caller: the body scanning is a clear violation of our fourth amendment rights. there's no probable cause to be searching people. the tsa is basing this on the assumption that everyone is a potential terrorist. there is no warrants involved. it is a complete, total invasive
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a violation of our fourth amendment rights. i would like you to respond to that. host: before we let you go, do you travel through airports? caller: no, i don't personally, and i'm definitely wouldn't now. i know people who do, and it does not seem to concern them, but this is like gestapo germany. actually, it's surpasses that. it is ridiculous to stand right ight forle's -- scan r igh people's bodies like this. host: can you address these two comments? guest: the aclu, and as a mentioned earlier, an organization in d.c. totally agree with that genet. -- with jeanette. i would say to callers who are
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interested in what is happening to go to their website and look at what they're doing. a minor victory they have won in forcing tsa to have some sort of public comment on the machines. they have been trying to shut them down, and the aclu as well as an protesting -- has been protesting. it will be interesting to see in the next year or two their degree of success. host: what steps is the tsa trying to take to respond to privacy concerns? guest: there is a call center where you can call in, if you want to say, hey, you guys are doing something wrong, or i have an experience i would like to relate to you. there is a privacy and civil liberties officer at the department of homeland security,
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where the assistance of and feisty board, you can say hey, you need to scale this back and protect privacy more. there is an office within the tsa where if somebody feels wronged, the redress of is should offer some sort of request to make sure that does not happen again. host: do you have a sense of how many people are opting out of the full body scanners? guest: i don't have a sense. it is an option, in theory. if you say, hey, i don't want to go through the full body imager, you can go through the patdown. any passengers go through screening without receiving either. -- many passengers go through screening without receiving either. it is getting better, but last year, a lot of the devices were
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unmanned. they did not have people trained to run them, they did not have enough people to run them. there was a bit of a scandal where these devices were sitting idle and were not being used. in theory, you should be able to opt in for the patdown. and there are complaints that the screeners don't care and just file them through the full body image or any way. host: steve, good morning. i think we lost him. callista, california. rob, republican. caller: a few points on security. our ports are very vulnerae. parkton stations and bus stations are very vulnerable. -- our train stations and bus
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stations are very honorable. there was a test -- i don't know if it was you, homeland security, or tsa, but they ran a dirty bomb through. two months ago, there was a guy on the plane and he got my passed through homeland security. at what point in time laid down your life for security? it is kind of ashamed that we have to go through these tactics, but it is a dangerous world out there. i keep up on all this, and there are factors who want to do a sale. -- i keep up on all the news, and there are factors who want ill. us guest: with port security, there
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is a past that is supposed to get you into port facilities if you are authorized to be there. the government accountability office found that it was pretty easy to fake your way in. the card itself may be a great idea, but it is easy to say, hey, i am entitled to be in this port, pay to get in. it is like a college dorm has this technology, for crying out loud. you put it under the door and it verifies that your card is good. the coast guard has not put out a rule on how to get them. host: hi, clinton. caller: if pa